Some Quiet Musings on Gratitude

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” anonymous


Not sure how I feel about using typing on here to do my journaling, and, giving it a shot because it’s easier to transfer the info to a later digital iteration like a blog, so here goes…

pasadena, waterfront home, happy place, misty morning, cozy cottage, home?, going homeMercury is still in retrograde and much to be done while I debate in my head about our upcoming future plans, like our upcoming trip to MD and trying to determine what we can get do, where we can stay, and how long we will be gone from here.

colonnades, Florida condos, rainbows over the water, rainbow in FL, Waterfront living, Ft Pierce, FloridaOur new neighbor, Nancy(?), has moved in downstairs. Last night at about 2 am I crashed a bunch of pots and pans while putting them away and as a result cringed thinking of how I was disturbing everyone. She has offered to water my plants for which I am grateful. I am noticing the awareness of the energies of the others that I share this building with, the insulation for sound is sparse, and my sensitivities as always are quite acute.

Morning peace and writing about what I am grateful for, this technology for making it possible for me to communicate to people and organizations Miles away. The ability to practice my typing, practice a language, practice the discerning listening of focusing on the birds singing, the surge of sensuality rising like sap in my body, the satisfied fullness from this morning’s breakfast. I am grateful for this home, a second floor condo overlooking a small bay of the Indian River Lagoon.

I am so grateful for the closeness to the ocean from here I am grateful for this quiet AM as RB does his own thing as I get ready to do mine. I am grateful for Steve D for being there in my brother’s place keeping an eye on him. I am grateful that RB is doing so well, getting more independent every day, and doing his thing of connecting to people reaching out, and making win/win situations for us. I am so grateful every night when I climb in bed to be able to reach out and stroke his soft skin, hear him breathing, and his purr for half a second of awareness before diving back in to sleep. I am grateful for the resources given to us by his parents from their lifetime of saving, working, and investing that have made our unconventional life possible. I am so grateful for both the resources, and the lessons they passed on to both RB and myself. I am grateful for the grandchildren and the joys they bring to our lives. I am grateful for the comforts of this place, all that was provided to us in completeness from furniture to curtains, hurricane shutters and dishes. I am grateful to “Chad” and Winnie, and the garden for a new/old adventure in relationship to my “New Home” and this place on the earth, and All Our Relations.

I am grateful for All Our Relations for the many gifts that are given and provided, from the very air I breathe to the would of the table and frame of the sofa I am on. I am grateful for the minerals and plants, and animals, flora and fauna, cousins all in this great web of life. Bugs to birds to water, ahhh water, soothes, quenches, births, home to fishes and whales, dolphins and manatee, turtles and an entire unseen world within our world. Provider of life, o2 and food for us, I give my heartfelt thanks!

Les oiseaux; songs, inspiration, flight, feathers, omens, a near constant in my life, thank you. The minerals, metals, and ancient plants that our modern world is made up of, I give my heartfelt awestruck thanks for all you do and allow to be done. To the vast bowl of atmosphere surrounding our planet, holding in the air and keeping out the worst parts of the suns blessing to this planet, thank you, we wouldn’t be able to be here if not for you. The animals all, domesticated and wild – lending stories, and flesh to our stories, clothing and shelter entertaining us and keeping us alive, thank you!

To the bug nations, cleanup crews, pollinators, messengers, food for so many. lady bug, desi van, good bugs, bug nationsThey are colorful, brave resourceful, powerful and so different from us in the way you organize and do stuff.

Molds and bacteria, Lichen and… Stones and sand, seas and rivers and streams, This vast and generous Earth/Home/Mother  I give my heartfelt thanks so much to be grateful for G_d(dess)/ Divine creator, Thank you for the spark of my life that animates me and makes me want to be more, to explore, discover and create. Thank you for this miracle of existence for this one tiny, endless moment, Thank you

Of Love & Loss, & Moving On, again…

“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”

– Unknown

Good Friends, Peninsula Yacht Services, Annapolis Dean Benham

This Trip Has Afforded Many Opportunities To Let Go

The loss of my brother two, almost three years ago started the process that culminated in leaving my business and taking this trip over a year ago. Through the many adventures down the waterway, and after the stroke my husband suffered, the adoption of Ft Pierce as a home (a least for now), there have been challenges overcome. Over the past year though the loss has escalated to the loss of two dear friends, and my mother. There is no easy way to navigate, chores and to do lists only carry one so far. Eventually you are left with the empty spaces, the holes in your own soul where a smiling face used to be.

Just a moment to pause with love and contemplation of what the world, and our lives will be like after these key players have gone. No more funny check ins to share our adventures with, no more sunset drinks on the deck, no more late night driving calls just because I knew she was awake.

Sadness, disappointment, and yet…

Waking to First Light and the wonder of sea and wind and All Our Relations, to the gentle breathing of Robert beside me in the dark, I/We go on appreciating that WE are still here with these moments & beauty before us. With these endings the hope of whatever comes next while on the other side they sit together raising a glass with their old loves relaxing, happy and content, I hope.

Sunset, Intercoastal Waterway, ICW, Heading South, Adventures of Emerald Dragon

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

– Kahlil Gibran



“Elles Sont Blondes” & Other Stories Of A Year Travelling

sunrise, new beginnings, adventures of Emerald Dragon

So much time has past since my last writing here, it’s overwhelming just reviewing all that has happened. Even traveling backwards in time via the photo editor while multitasking my Duolingo French, so many feelings. Sadness, hope, joy, and bittersweet memories of this journey, so far. So far because I/we are still on it. We are still camped out in other’s homes (Thank you D&D & Charlie) while the therapizing of RB continues. We are still traveling back and forth to Emerald Dragon every month, “On the hard,” in St. Augustine at the Oasis Marina (a great place BTW, family owned, friendly, ethical & above all kind!).

Life has brought me on quite a journey this year. The previous year had me summarily expulsed from a marketing company I had helped build up and as a result decided that my almost 60 something year life was due for some overhaul, or at least review. The bounce hurt & I work to forgive for the betrayal that cheated me from the relationships, and the financial gains that I feel/felt I deserved. I mostly focus now on the positives I gained from the experience, I learned much  including how to build and maintain a simple website like this,& get everything in writing. 😉

My desire to travel via our sailboat Emerald Dragon was the both the start of and the culmination of my split with the ex business partner. Her “meltdown into melodrama” was precipitated by the suggestion to her that I (&my husband) wanted to take the boat south again as we had twenty years prior. He -approaching seventy, and I -approaching sixty, wanted to be able to do this while we were still healthy. He had developed a heart arrhythmia that seemed mostly under control. After several months worth of fruitless negotiation, and legal action after my expulsion, and winter approaching, the timing seemed right.

Prior to our leaving my husband and I experimented with various ways to generate income from a relatively successful house flip, to AirBnB-ing our waterfront home. I continued to maintain (& still do) several of the social media accounts with folks who chose to maintain a relationship with me. I also began working through several “Self Help” oriented books from Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles , to The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, and most recently The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  As we traveled I connected with and maintained connections with a Master Mind group started by Bonnie, a realtor at the Severna Park Chamber of Commerce, the Annapolis Toastmasters group, as well as a support group of friends who are all therapists and coaches by trade.

I’m blending past and present here a bit.

Through an amazing set of circumstances I connected with Tracey, the woman who would become our tenant, renting our house, fully furnished (somewhat cleaned out already due to the AirBnB thing). She loved the place and needed a home that came furnished and ready to go. I love Win/Win outcomes. With most of our mortgage covered we were able to budget a 6-8 month trip returning to MD in the spring of 2019. We began our journey south in the Fall of 2018 traveling with our friend Dave on his boat Island Queen, another CSY similar to ours. He was a beloved connection and backdrop to much of our journey dropping everything to help move the boat after Robert’s stroke.

We had several memorable stops along the way; Solomon’s Island,The Dismal Swamp, Thanksgiving in St Mary’s, Thunderbolt Marine (Savannah,GA), Pompano Beach , Key West, Suntex Hollywood Marina, St Augustine, and of course Melbourne Yacht club & Ft.Pierce. Unfortunately these locations were often the site of some of the more dramatic events of our trip beginning with my brother’s hospitalization just before Christmas (Pompano), the death of our dear friend and neighbor Bill Flohr (Suntex Hollywood Marina, and culminating in my husband’s stroke while underway in Melbourne Florida.


Fast forward some to July of 2019, the joys and challenges of circumstance have us here at Charlie’s place overlooking the Inland waterway in Ft Pierce. My husband’s stroke while underway, brother’s fall and subsequent realizations about his (& my mom’s) living situation, my mother’s hospitalization, and all of the small moments of both terror and small (& great) beauty along the way.


New friends, and the support and love of old friends, the online family, many of whom I will never meet, my french studies, self studies, dreams, and art, and newfound communities of cruisers, stroke victims, yoga students, marina owners, all caring, helpful, generous folk are who & what have made each of these journeys a blessing.

Next, new doors are ready to be opened, life without (or at least much restricted) alcohol use, Jimmy Buffet songs about the sailing life to be challenged. Healthful new ways of being together, mentally, emotionally, and physically are developing. Moving back on to Emerald Dragon for further adventures of some sort, whether cruising or getting her ready for the next generation of adventurers. More land based and mental/spiritual journeying (anyone toured the Navy Seal Museum yet?). Learning about coaching, both myself and others as a potential career & area for growth, reclaiming my artist self as a painter, photographer, writer, publisher, and healer.

There’s hope in this future, & appreciation of the now, such is the journey as it continues.

Shoveling Out

On dispersing your art to the world,

{I like knowing that pieces of each installation are residing in different parts of the world, spreading the energies of that idea like seeds sown into the wind.} Lauren McAloon, Installation Sculptor, Artist & Facilities manager at The Studios of Key West

Shoveling Out

I really like the idea from the artist/ curator, and chief paperhanger above answered when I asked if it were difficult to let go of her art after an installation piece was finished. “I have art I made when I was 10-11 years old,” I said, “I think often that the only way to release it would be with a bonfire.” I explained that at one point when I started painting, I would do a painting every day, Ms. McAloon smiled and deadpanned that it would be have to be a really big bonfire.

I am often struck when making art, that each choice to add or subtract an element negates multiple other options or directions. On bad days that knowledge becomes paralyzing, on good days I can notice and move on, or keep track somehow of some of the other ideas to revisit them. That is one of the reasons I loved printmaking as a basis for a series of art pieces. All these ideas and creations have a life cycle of their own from idea to conception, creation, refinement, potentially display, and then…

As a semi-professional artist (i.e. thus far I haven’t sold much, or tried very hard to do so), the creating is what I enjoy. The need to store, and even display the creations stops my process sometimes in that there is no room, or more need for what I want to make. I wonder, with reference to the hoarding tendencies of my family, how much this can stifle both my and my sibling’s creativity in general.

There is a bit more to this as well. I’ve never had children. I am blessed that I have had an ongoing relationship with my husband’s children; I was able to watch them grow from a very young age, and even now I get to “play at” being a grand-mother (or Grammy) with their children. While I enjoy them all very much, there is not a sense that they will be interested in what I would “hand down.” The next generation of Benson’s and Ginn’s will likely be uninterested in any of my wisdoms (unless of course it is found to have monetary value). It is one of the challenges of deciding to become a Step, instead of a blood parent (a subject for another day).

My art, my writing, sculptures, paintings, jewelry, photos; are in the greatest sense, my children. When I have completed a piece, I want to live with it a while, and it while it would be nice to hand them off to another, have them be adopted, set them free, that doesn’t often happen without effort. So, what happens to my misfit children? They languish in my basement & studio primarily. My question to myself is, is this hoarding too?

Part of the purpose for me in this trip South was to be able to spend time both reconnecting with family and helping to prepare my disabled brother for his future. My 88-year-old mother, and all of us as a family have to consider how to best deal with an aging, stubborn, (some read fiercely independent) physically & mentally challenged individual both now, and when my mother, his primary caretaker, is unable to care for him.Disabled siblings, caring for the disabled, caring for aging siblings
Unexpectedly my brother Allan had a fall that necessitated a hospital, then rehab stay just as we were approaching the area by boat. The fall highlighted several things, that my mother was not able to assist him when he fell (he out weighs her by 100lbs.) and that the apartment was unsafe for him to return to. I/we decided that to facilitate Allan’s eventual return home that I would undertake another massive cleanout.

Hoarding, holding on too long, Too much Stuff, Marie Kondo
I’ve written about their hoarding issues before, and frankly if they were both content, I’ve been inclined to let them alone with their lifestyle. It’s another family tenant (along with Murphy’s Law) to ‘Live & Let Live,’ Perhaps we (my 2, now one brother(’s)) have been negligent in addressing this earlier.

Whenever I do this massive dig out, and this is number 5, It strikes me how cleaning out our home would be to Robert &/or my step children. What a headache this entails. How many truckloads of detritus to heap onto yet another landfill, not to mention the stagnant energy that all these past musings, both visual and written, are of interest only to me. If I outlive my siblings or mother there may be some interest, and why would any, save some future historian or archaeologist be interested?

In the case of my brother I think his are more a collection of items to stem the tide of going without. A #10 can of safety pins, 27 containers of disposable underwear, 13 spare air fresheners, 25 nail clippers, close to 500 colored pencils, old newspapers in stacks, multiple garbage bag sized snacks, 75 unopened puzzles, hundreds of never opened or viewed, CD’s, DVD’s, VHS tapes, and books & this is but a small part of the “nest” as we call it he feels he must surround himself with. He has a compulsion to wear and use the same clothing items, torn and stained though they are, and to always carry a small holographic collection of this nest with him.

It has taken me 3 weeks of 6-8-hour days with help from my brother and sister in law to clear out and organize most of Allan’s “stuff.” We filled multiple dumpster loads, had quite a few trips to Goodwill, and transferred many items to a storage unit as well. We were all proud of the accomplishment and my brother was able to come home in relative safety, unfortunately in the month since we finished, I suspect the “nest” is growing again.

With the Marie Kondo book” Spark Joy” a rapidly growing conversation in the world I find myself revisiting the need, the desire for the false sense of safety, continuity, and of history that carrying our “stuff” with us provides. I too have been having an internal conversation about what (& how) to let go of.

I love the Shinto concepts underlying much of her de-cluttering philosophy. The belief that kami, or the sacred, exists in everything, no matter how outwardly mundane it appears. (How Shinto Influenced Marie Kondo, The divine spark as a soul or spirit in all things, places, natural forces, Animism it is sometimes called, is a spiritual understanding of many older religions. Science too has begun to recognize that energy is what all matter is made of, and energy itself can form and reform into any physical (& perhaps non-physical) forms.

Ms. Kondo states that when she enters a home to be de-cluttered, she greets it as sacred space. With each item reviewed she taps it to wake, & when releasing it says Thank you for all that item has represented. Perhaps the re-cluttering is an unconscious gathering of these energies to protect, insulate, or otherwise fill an empty interior space within. Perhaps also if I were to have approached both my brother’s nest, as well as my own sacred art space, with that respect and honor the de-cluttering would hold.

It’s certainly an interesting thought.

Riding The Wave(s)

Learning from adversity. the hidden joys of adversity. learning

“When Everything Feels Like An Uphill Struggle – Just Think of The View From The Top!

“Life is, after all, risky, delicate, temporary, and magnificent. ” Victoria Moran Creating A Charmed Life:Sensible, Spiritual Secrets Every Woman Should Know



What are the myths that you tell yourself, about who you are or what you can accomplish? What stories, both positive and negative, affect the outcome of your life’s path. These self created perceptions repeat over and over. We repeat them so much, we believe they represent an immutable reality.  When reaching for a new paradigm you challenge these deep ruts of behavior and perception, & like a rubber-band they can stretch and then lash back if you do not maintain both new actions and new mindset.  These “Back lashes.” feel then like a confirmation of the old paradigms which makes them that much harder to challenge.

But why is it that we have these core beliefs like, “It’s never going to be better than now,” or “Before I can change I must understand what made me this way,” or the old Murphy’s Law example, “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment,” rule our hopes and potentials? Do they have to, or are there ‘technologies’ that can bring us past and through these interior storms of perception.

Every #SelfHelp book that I have read purports a road map to address these challenges. Some suggest using your mind and cognitive processes to ‘realize’ the falsehood of these pre-programmed responses. Ideas like becoming aware of your breath, or other present moment cues are ways to accomplish this. Positive thinking and Affirmation oriented maps are another approach. Jack Canfield, The Success Principles, & Chicken Soup For The Soul uses harnessing focus with affirmation, meditation, goal setting, and choice points where one decides between the person they are, and the person they want to be. Tony Robbins says that “Human emotion is one of the greatest resources we have.” He suggests that harnessing the physical expressions of emotion can help control our visceral responses. He further suggests that by placing our physical selves  in a mimic of a positive experience we can actually create and reprogram ourselves to be in those positive mental states. Others have posited this as well. The now well known #TEDTalk by Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are  surprised much of the world with her research about posture and self confidence, not exactly the same & certainly related. Tim Krause also of the TEDTalks stage speaks about cue and response systems in his talk How To Manipulate Emotions . He suggests that using self hypnosis or self-conditioning cues can change your existing responses.

The question is do these techniques really work, especially long term? Can we override deeply ingrained emotional responses? For me the jury is still out frankly. Using all of the positive focus tools, I have noticed a shift in paradigm in my life, and, there is quite a bit of effort to maintain these states.  Over time there is a limit that any one practice will be effective. Is it a matter of time before positivity gets to be the new anchor? Will the efforting always be a part of the process? I can’t say that I know. When confronted by a challenge to the elevated paradigm, can we maintain, or re-attain that emotional/energetic space with less effort than before? Furthermore is it merely a self delusion to attempt this? By choosing this focus are we merely blinding ourselves to the “real” world?

In my own journeys lately I swing between what I consider to be the more ‘elevated’, desirable, certainly more pleasurable states of perception and action to the ‘old paradigms of self doubt, defensiveness, and fear. I imagine this is a common state. The Inner Voices sing in a harmonic chorus of Yes, No, & Maybe, as I step my way towards goals & desired outcomes. The world itself seems to reflect back the status of that same interior dialog confirming whichever voice is the strongest. Does that confirm the change possibility, or the opposite?

I still hold to the intent of the quote above, “think of the view at the top.” This is a newer journeying so for now I am somewhat content to stay in the question. The assurances that these techniques will lead towards a more fulfilling life are worth testing, in my opinion. As this is my (finite) life I guess that’s the only one that matters.



On Beginning Again, and Again, and Again…

Time management, waiting, perfection, transitions, making the best of where you areWaiting for an idea to achieve perfection before stepping up to the plate is a sure fire way to make sure that idea will never launch, or even see the light of day. There is sometimes an honest hint from the universe that a course of action has not fully ripened. With all of the changes wrought in my life over the past few months, experimenting with alternative monetary streams, contemplating the big move onto our Emerald Dragon (A CSY Pilothouse ketch), starting a real estate renovation/investment with a family member, and beginning to do a little marketing support for a few folks now that there is no non-compete to contend with, there hasn’t been much time to be reaching out towards my stated goals of sharing exploration, and #AhaMoments.


That is real life though, noticing gratitude, Aha’s. and staying the course towards a greater vision of your own, and staying aligned with your purpose while navigating, family, car repair, Mercury in retrograde, and other challenges. So here’s to #RealLife with a vision, and here’s to staying aligned while riding the wave.


BTW a #ThankYou shout out to Renee C. who suggested a movie night. freinds, happy times. movie night (We saw a masterfully executed and performed, “Eighth Grade”   My first ‘fun’ night out with a friend in quite a while).

Books and Other Teachers, The Journey

Jack Canfield, Jen Sincero, Artists WayBooks and Other Teachers

Along the way of this 55+ year ride, I have spent much of my time learning from books. Teachers and mentors of the human sort have often seemed messy, flawed, and not always entirely trust worthy. As a result I found most of my wisdom in books. I read anything from science fiction stories of authors like Spider Robinson Marge Piercy, and Robert Heinlein to philosophers like Thoreau, Jack Kerouac, and Camus .  I explored the “WooWoo” worlds of Carlos Castenada, Joseph CampbellClarissa Pinkola Estes and so many others whose basic premises were the acceptance that our perceptions are mere agreements, not the Newtonian reality we have been trained to accept. While these explorations have always carried for me the seeds of greater potential, I have, up until most recently enjoyed them with a semi hopeful, passive view.

This transitional journey seems to be bringing me back, full circle, or perhaps more accurately, full spiral, towards those more “WooWoo'” or spiritual explorations, but this time with a less passive bent. I am feeling called to harness the lessons of the commercial worlds of advertising, marketing, and networking and blend them with a deeper call. A call towards exploration, and authentically sharing these explorations with fellow travelers. It is a call towards connecting with a tribe of courageous, & wholehearted  explorers who want to dig deep, share encouragement and wisdom, and be willing to engage truth with compassion in an effort to be more, and affect more of our world(s).

Our teachers are everywhere, in books, on You Tube, podcasts, Facebook & other Social media venues. They are just outside our door in our brushes with the natural world. They are our neighbors, and coincidences, joyful moments, unexpected encounters, and even our houseplants.

Working with a Mastermind Group

The Mastermind process has connected me to a new type of investigation, into exploring some of the so called gurus of Personal Growth. Despite some trepidation I have found that working through these processes within our group, has been both fun, and life changing. For those that are unfamiliar, a Mastermind Group is an intentional and committed group of people that agree to, “meet weekly, monthly, daily even if it makes sense, to tackle challenges and problems together. They lean on each other, give advice, share connections and do business with each other when appropriate. It’s very much peer-to-peer mentoring.” (Forbes: 7 Reasons to Join a Mastermind Group). Our particular group allows for the sharing of leadership roles. We rotate who leads, and vote on the subjects we explore which alleviates some of the ego and power struggles that can distract from growth work.

We started with the Jack Canfield book, “The Success Principles.” This is a book that every person in transition should be gifted with. Though little of the information is truly new, the progression of principles, and the compassionate way they are presented will have you believing that you can actually succeed at changing your life. Working through this process has be a literal life changing event. I have often thought where our world could be if every school child had access to these techniques and principles.

Our latest book to work through is Jen Sincero’s, “You Are A Badass At Making Money”  Written in the irreverent style you would assume from the title, Ms. Sincero challenges your attitudes about money, where it comes from, and how you can get it. It’s a fun read & let me note that it is most important to actually work these books. If all you do is read them,  and even highlight all your favorite passages without doing the exercises, you will likely get less than what you would hope out of them.

Another classic “workbook” for creatives is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way  “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” Though her book was originally published in 1992, and she has taught these principles of creativity recovery since 1978, the concepts and techniques are still as potent today as they have ever been.

For fun reviews of various “Self Help” books check out “By the Book” podcast, “Join comedian Jolenta Greenberg and her skeptical friend Kristen Meinzer as they live by the rules of a different self-help book each episode to figure out which ones might actually be life changing.” Sometimes helpful, sometimes full of their own #AhaMoments , often hilarious, these two women commit to each process for a 2 week period, and report back with their results.

Self Help books are easy to make fun of, easy to dismiss with a knowing and cynical wink. It’s a huge industry. When using them as tools, & being willing to share your vulnerabilities and dreams with others (& yourself) they can be a powerful way to move you in new directions. Ultimately, it’s up to you, & it sure helps to have voices of support holding you up when it gets hard.

Our teachers are everywhere. A teacher is one that for that moment, lights a fire, or opens a door to new awareness.  Let each door opened bring with it it’s own challenges and joys. Allow us to muddle through our own next steps as we “Dance towards our greater becoming.” Here’s hoping that your journey brings you joy and heart-opening awareness as well. Happy Exploring!


An Obituary for TBD

AHA Moments, One door closes another opens, aha moments, Inner Voices Outer Vision, treebranchDESIGN, TreebranchDesign, Treebranch Group

Not All AHA Moments Feel Good

They say a business partnership is much like a marriage, and in certain aspects they are right. First and foremost, both parties must desire the relationship to continue. There is the necessity that all parties maintain respect (at least most of the time) for one another. A willingness to be truthful, ethical, and to negotiate and compromise is also needed. While I am taking the risk of sharing this potentially “Sour Grapes” moment here, my desire is to have said , be done, and move on.

I recently discovered that my now ex-business partner decided to close the business that we shared for the past 5 years. All references to my name, or contributions  made towards the success of what we built together have been eliminated.  As with any “Divorce” both parties will have a list of grievances that will support their own view of events; while it was ultimately my choice to leave (based on the above), I was thoroughly blind-sided by the lengths to which my contributions were to be discounted.

Though the name is moderately changed, the company has basically regrouped with the people that we brought together and the business relationships that I was directly involved with developing. While not the only one involved in the successful growth of the company, I am proud to say that I was instrumental in the 400% growth during the time I was involved. I helped to connect with and developed involvements with larger scale businesses and non profits, new revenue streams, trained my replacements, & helped create and implement many new ideas.

There are some days that I have the feeling of being bounced off the “Sit & Spin'” with my butt in the dust, a quivering lower lip signalling my distress. Other days I feel such freedom and joy at being able to at last move in the directions of my own next steps, my own becoming. There is grief though over the loss of what was once a treasured relationship, the company (& brand) I helped build, and a bit of faith & trust in my own judgement.

The past 5 years have taught me quite a bit, some productive- how to build a WordPress site, how to create and manage a Google Adwords campaign, how to negotiate with someone with a very different opinion than you… Being married to the same man for over 28 years taught me quite a bit about that as well. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, knowing when to let go of an unsupportive relationship. When unconscious and unrecognized, behaviors, communications, and actions are in service to a myopic desired outcome, manipulation, dishonesty, distrust, and the desire to control direction of all outcomes becomes a constant obstacle to growth, both professionally and personally, it’s time to go. Having expressed that disappointment, and yes some resentment, I do ultimately believe that we are always where we need to be from the larger view.

This time moving forward is somewhat of a challenge. Normally I would take some time to gestate a new idea or direction, form a plan and move in to the new incarnation with cautious steps forward. With this, I am experiencing something a bit different. It’s like walking through a thick fog, each step into the unknown reveals the next. The in-between is and has been a journey of it’s own.  Radical faith is what is being asked of me. In the depths of this transition I find I am deep diving. I am reconnecting to those themes and threads that have ever guided my journey; Faith, Trust, Spiritual Exploration, Art & Soul, Healing, Authenticity, Truth, and Teaching.

While my way is not entirely clear I am grateful to honor the pull of these tidal forces of my life. My AHA Moments continue to unfold. I hope to share this journey of discovery, and perhaps we can explore & mine together this transitional, in-between space.

So here’s to the next chapter, and practicing #RadicalFaith #AHA Moments

Update to the Vision Board Exploration Workshop

What an amazing and gratifying evening! Alka Bromiley of Inspire2 led us on a gentle, yet deep dive into the journey of our own lives. We were all honored to have a chance to bond together, introduce ourselves, spend time in our separate creative spaces, and come together to share what we had created.Vision Board, Exploration, Inner Voices Outer Vision, Art and Soul

Because it was a very hot day (92 degrees) we began our evening in the cooler, air conditioned house. As the sun descended most opted for an outdoor space to work. The water view, and the absolute clarity of the sky formed an inspiring backdrop to our efforts. What was fascinating to observe were the differences not only in content, but in format of each individual’s #VisionBoard

By the end of the evening several lively discussions ensued as we compared design and content, some vowing to continue to add more at home. Though not able to complete my own board during the event (filling plates and glasses, and generally keeping up with hostess duties), I was able to complete a board before heading off to bed.

What fascinated me was the content that evolved on my Vision Board was not at all what I expected Vision Board, Explore your life, Goal Setting, Creative Goal Setting, Soul Cardwould show up. It depicted lots of images of home, Travel, and beauty with very few around my tactical next steps with this business journey. I have been meditating upon this larger #SoulCard of a #VisionBoard and contemplating what my deeper knowing brought to the fore.

Alka informed us that the Vision Board exercise is one that can (& should) be done on a regular basis. I encourage you to give it a try and see what evolves.


If you are interested in knowing when we host this type of event again, feel free to fill out the contact form and we will add you to our email list.

Happy Vision Boarding!

PS Here’s Alka telling us about the process on the Facebook Live at the event

Of Art, Soul, Self Care, & Family

We Came , We Saw, We Painted, and We Set Them Free!

Painted rocks, Family Art project, love your familyI truly love my family, even though over the years I’ve chosen to live over a thousand miles away. Since the recent death of my youngest brother who lived in their vicinity, and the realization that my beloved mom is almost 88 I have been making a more concerted effort to “drop by” to visit more often. The challenge I have is that despite my love for them, it can be difficult to maintain the positive attitude that I am learning is of fundamental importance to growing this new life I am creating.

My mother’s view is that the world operates by Murphy’s Law. For those unfamiliar, Murphy’s Law states that, ” Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment.” She has trained all her children to actively assume that dreadful things are guaranteed to happen, so why try to accomplish anything. She is however, extremely intelligent, funny, creative, caring, an excellent writer, and knows who she is & what she wants. My disabled brother Allan lives with her. At 88, she is his primary caretaker. For them it works. Allan has multiple physical challenges (he had a stroke at 2 and was paralyzed on his right side). He has difficulty walking and controlling his right hand and arm which is very frustrating to him. As such he is more than content to be waited on. He has other issues, & don’t we all… He is also wickedly funny (if you pay attention), very artistic, loves puzzles and word games, is somewhat of a cross dresser, and is so used to being ignored that he has learned to always carry some form of game or puzzle with him to entertain himself.

It is always with some trepidation I head down to visit them. They live in an apartment so packed with STUFF, there is no place for a visitor to sit. The TV is on constantly, this is as far as I can tell their only form of entertainment, besides grocery shopping, Dr’s visits, and occasional dinners out for family events. Neither is physically able walk any distance which eliminates most other outings. This truly creates a challenge for connecting as the only opportunities involve one restaurant visit after another, expensive, challenging, and fattening.

The last time I was down for a visit, I arranged to do a small art project with them so that we would have an opportunity for some actual quality time. I was staying at my older brother’s house, so I had the time and space to spread out (Thanks Ken!). It seemed to be a success, everyone one got their hands a little dirty, and was pleased to leave our ‘Gifts’ in the garden there. This trip I was determined to do something similar. #PaintedRocks seemed to fulfill all the criteria, art, positivity, creativity, and above all letting the STUFF go at the end.

To back up a moment, my introduction to the Painted Rocks craze was inspiring. I had signed up to do the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run/Walk last Fall. It is a 6.5-mile course that takes you over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Having been very out of shape my goal was to make it as far as the middle of the bridge, able to look down and take pictures of the water below. As a Bay sailor I had often been under the bridge, this time I wanted to be on top. I had been assured that if I couldn’t make it to the end, there would be transportation from the organizers to the finish line. I was delighted that I had made it up and over the bridge only to find that there remained an additional mile to be traversed. Yikes! As I rounded the corner at the end of the bridge, exhausted, and a bit worried I wouldn’t make it, I looked down and saw this…

It was a small smooth rock with this message painted on it. “You are so close to the victory, don’t you dare give up now!” I giggled and took the message to heart. Even though no one was monitoring me (I could have taken a short cut, or given up, I continued around that last mile to my own internal cheer, all from the gentle chastisement of that rock, and the person who had placed it there. I didn’t keep it, I did take this picture to remind me of the difference a little encouragement at the right time can mean.

So back to the family trip. I gathered some supplies, paint, brushes, and even bought some rocks (they sell the smooth ones at Michael’s), picked up my mom & brother & headed back to Ken’s house. I proceeded to tell them the story of my experience while spreading out newspaper & putting out the supplies. They both seemed a little dubious as I explained the criteria for the sayings, short enough to paint on the rock, and a positive message.

We brainstormed a bit coming up with some funny but not very inspiring, “The Fashion Police are Everywhere.” The more esoteric, “Life is a Bubbling Brook,” a saying favored by my late stepfather (A story for another day). And finally coming up with a list of acceptably interesting sayings. We voted for our favorites, and while doing that, unbeknownst to me Allan had already begun painting a few of his own. We ended up with 7 rocks, painted legibly. Even more important we had a conversation. We talked about might happen to Allan when my Mom passes, what his living situation might be. We talked about the school my mom had with my stepfather, and she shared the evolution of their deciding to start it, we talked about my brother David and how we missed him. All in all, we had a couple of hours of quality interaction, an anomaly of late.

As we finished up Allan started to gather up the rocks to take home. I explained that the point of the exercise was to send our messages out in the world, he relinquished his hold and let me keep them.

Two days later, I came by and picked them up, and while I drove I encouraged them to direct me to the spots we would leave the rocks. This was an important completion, the letting go.

We had a rock that said, “Are We There Yet?” and Mom determined the bus stop would be a good spot. Another said, “To Plant a Garden, is to Believe in Tomorrow,” that of course was placed in a public garden. At their condominium there was a perfect location by the community mailbox where a rock regularly was used to hold down flyers and such. Allan put his, “Thank God” rock there. You get the idea.

We had fun, spent 2 days together uncomplaining, laughing, connecting, and hopefully also spreading painting rocks, my brothers keepersome laughter and joy in the world. It was a powerful paradigm shift, at least for me. It was a concrete way for me to share time with them in a positive, uplifting, and creative way.

So often doing art together gets relegated as something only for small children. Doing art together is an activity that is a part of our tribal past. Making allows us to step outside of our regularly scheduled programs of interacting and connect in a more meaningful way. For me this art activity allowed my family and I to spend time together that was more satisfying than chatting over a pastrami sandwich surrounded by curious onlookers. Try this with friends or family next time you get together, you might be surprised.